THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The good news? Tiger Woods shot 6-under-par 66 in Friday’s second round of the Zozo Championship at Sherwood.
The bad news? He didn’t gain any ground on the leaders and is 12 strokes behind pace-setting Justin Thomas through 36 holes.
The best news? He’s feeling a whole lot better than he did during Thursday’s first round and miles better than he felt when he missed the cut in the U.S. Open four weeks ago in his most recent start ahead of the Zozo.
A day after posting his worst score in 49 rounds at Sherwood – where he’s won five times and been runner-up five times – Woods, the defending champion, was 10 strokes to the better. His 66 matched his lowest total for 2020.
“That’s just the nature of my back. I wish it could be good all the time,” Woods said when asked why he’s feeling better than he did at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in New York. “I have moments where it’s not quite as elastic as I’d like it to be and unfortunately the U.S. Open did not help with the long rough, and I did not drive it in the fairway enough times and put a lot of stress on it and shot high numbers. But I am moving a lot better. Having four weeks off was good, training sessions have been good, so everything’s kind of turned around.”
Including Friday’s second round.
“I think the overall I hit the ball so much better,” Woods said. “Yesterday was not that sharp and today was a lot more sharp and a lot more crisp and clean. I felt like I really didn’t swing the club that poorly (Thursday). I was just a fraction off and I got out of position a couple times. And I didn’t pay the par-5s well and it just snowballed into a high number. Was never really able to get any kind of momentum going because I played the par-5s so poorly. Today was different. Got off to a much better start and kept rolling.”
In the first round, Woods made a bogey or worse on three par-5s for the first time in his career. In the second round, he birdied four of the par-5s. He added four more birdies to help offset two bogeys.
Woods is tied for 66th and his chances to successfully defend his title and win his record 83rd PGA Tour title are remote. But Woods will grind, get two more rounds in ahead of the Masters, where he’ll defend his 2019 title, and he’ll continue to work on shaping shots the way he wants to when he gets to Augusta National.
“I feel like I’m able to draw the ball a little bit better. And I need to get a little bit more sharp with it, start setting up a little bit higher than I am right now,” Woods said. “But the nature of this golf course is not quite like Augusta. There are a couple holes that I do like setting it up and hitting high draws and I’ve done that.
“No. 6 is a lot like No. 10, sitting up, trying to hit that high tomahawk draw down there, I was able to do it yesterday and today. There are a couple shots that are similar to what I’m going to face at Augusta. And I’ve got a few weeks out, so yes, imaging some of those shots already, and I have been for quite a while, ever since the U.S. Open. So hopefully I’ll be ready in a few weeks.”